The NHS plans to test wearable mood reading wristbands on patients to help track their emotions. The device, Moonbean, is the brainchild of a mother who was concerned about her child’s experience at school.
Moonbeam’s technology allows the wearer to track their emotions using simple yellow and blue buttons on the device. It relies on self-assessment rather than biometric data to track the wearer’s experiences.
By tapping the yellow button, the user can indicate they are feeling happy and use the blue to log when they are sad. Moonbeam feeds back this information to a smartphone app, which monitors and stores the information.
A doctor or parent can then access this accumulated data to either keep-tabs on the individual or to assess their wellbeing. The device can also be used for self-assessment to help someone determine what is triggering their low moods during the day.
Christina Colmer McHugh, co-founder of Moodbeam, said the idea came from her efforts to discover why her daughter had been struggling at school.
“There had been some bullying at her primary school,” she said. “After going through all the usual support procedures it left me thinking how good it would be to know how she was when she wasn’t with me.
“It offers self-awareness and mindfulness in practice. It can help keep a connection from afar, say for a child at university. It’s non-verbal meaning you can be honest and transparent.”
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Her co-founder, Jonathan Elvidge, said: “Its simplicitly is its strength. You simply press a button to record if you are feeling positive or negative.
The device will be tested on patients suffering with mental health issues, chronic pain or social isolation at NHS Humber trust.
The Hull-based startup believes there is potential for their product to be applied in other areas such as workplace wellbeing. The wristband was among a number of other “mood reading” devices showcased this year at CES 2020 in Las Vegas.